Brief guidance for Camden Council workers using the new agile working equipment including laptops and Lync phones.
Importantly, laptops are unsafe for use over long periods of time. The Council’s own policies state that they should only be used on their own for periods of up to one hour. This is because they can cause musculoskeletal problems including repetitive strain injury (RSI) and back pain. Indeed, over 85% of Camden Council workers who trialled the laptops alone suffered pain and/or eyestrain. If you are going to be using them for more than an hour, you need to at the very least use either an external monitor and mouse or a laptop riser, external keyboard and mouse: see photos for examples.
Particularly, if you find it uncomfortable to work for long periods of time on a small laptop screen you need to specify that you need an external monitor.
Or if the equipment is too heavy for you to carry you need to specify this so that measures to assist you can be taken, which could include using a wheeled suitcase or getting additional bits of equipment like power packs and keyboards to keep at home or alternate offices so you don’t have to carry them.
If you have a relevant disability (e.g. hearing or visual problems, chronic pain etc) ensure that your manager is aware, and you are recorded on eHR as disabled.
In some cases, management have agreed for staff to retain Citrix licenses to use their home computers instead of taking work laptops home if staff can present a valid business or health and safety case for doing so.
If management do not take appropriate steps to support you and provide adequate equipment, talk to your local UNISON health and safety representative, shop steward or convenor. If you are not a member, join! Ultimately, workers have the right to refuse unsafe work under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
We have helped negotiate improvements to the agile working package provided by management, including keeping a majority of desks with external monitors, getting choices in laptop size and getting laptop risers and external keyboards. And we assist members on a daily basis in protecting our health and safety, getting supportive equipment and having reasonable adjustments made.
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